Kidnapped Aussie penguin rescued after close call

An Australian Fairy penguin takes in the morning sun after a swim at Taronga Zoo in Sydney on Oct. 28, 2004. Penguins from the zoo are being used in an attempted to revive an ailing colony near Manly. CBS

penguin stolen returned
Dirk, a seven-year-old captive-bred fairy penguin from Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast in Australia, was allegedly stolen by three men Saturday after they broke into the facility and swam in the dolphin enclosure, swiping the bird on their way out
CBS

(CBS News) A stolen penguin is back in captivity after facing a harrowing ordeal during which he was chased by a dog and pursued by another marine animal, possibly a shark, according to reports.

Dirk, a seven-year-old captive-bred fairy penguin from Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast in Australia, was allegedly stolen by three men Saturday after they broke into the facility and swam in the dolphin enclosure, swiping the bird on their way out, according to Agence France-Presse.

The trio, who were caught after they posted the photos of themselves with the kidnapped penguin on Facebook, allegedly confessed to police they dropped the penguin off into the Broadwater, a water body known to contain sharks. A couple witnessed Dirk being chased out of the water by what was possibly a shark. A dog then chased the penguin back into the water. He was rescued by Sea World workers later after witnesses contacted the park.

"They heard a scuffle in the water, and this penguin came out onto the sand," Trevor Long, Sea World's director of marine sciences, told reporters, according to AFP.

"They thought it was very, very unusual, so they got on to their iPhone and googled 'lost penguin'. That came up with the story, and from there they were able to contact us."

Though exhausted, Dirk is said to be doing well back at Sea World after being reunited with his mate, Peaches. Police arrested and released the three men, who are facing charges of trespassing, stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal, Queensland Police spokesperson Rachel Clark said, according to CNN.

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